Results of Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2019
[Judge: Philippe Manoury]


Final Concert; Sunday 9 June 2019
Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall : Takemitsu Memorial

Philippe Manoury

Philippe Manoury (France)

[Final Concert]
Sunday 9 June 2019 | Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall : Takemitsu Memorial
Kanako Abe, conductor / Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra


  • 1st Prize
    Shiqi Geng (China)
    Resonanz vom HorizontFor Orchestra
    Cash Award
    1,000,000 yen
  • 1st Prize
    Pablo Rubino Lindner (Argentina)
    Entelequiasfor orchestra
    Cash Award
    1,000,000 yen
  • 2nd Prize
    Siqi Liu (China)
    Im Bauch des Fisches drei Tage und drei Nächtefür Orchester
    Cash Award
    600,000 yen
  • 3rd Prize
    Zhuosheng Jin (China)
    At The End Of Snow LineFor full orchestra
    Cash Award
    400,000 yen

Siqi Liu, Shiqi Geng, Philippe Manoury, Pablo Rubino Lindner, Zhuosheng Jin
photo © Michiharu Okubo

Comments by Philippe Manoury, judge

Good evening.
Those pieces were selected from an amount of more than 80 scores. They are remarkable for the way all the composers are fascinated by the symphonic orchestra. When I received the scores, they were nameless, impossible to find from where they came. Of course, in some of them I noticed that some Chinese or Japanese characters were written, in some others some German or English notifications indicated to me some possible origins. But it was very difficult to be sure where the composers came from. After the selection, I remarked two of them gave German titles in their pieces, and the third one gave an English one. The fourth one put a Spanish title. He is Argentinian, but it was a surprise to discover, when I made my choice, that the three other young composers in the list were in fact Chinese!

Concerning the thematic ideas of the pieces, I can discern two attitudes: the two first pieces of each part of this concert treat a question of perception and memory, the two last ones are connected with an individual history: the own history of the composer in one of them, and a fragment from the Bible in the other.

It is not easy to write a symphonic piece for orchestra nowadays. The infinite possibilities of the combinations of timbres and the weight of the tradition could be a barrier: how to make a choice or how to escape from the history? Those young composers decided to continue this tradition, and if I can give them an advice it will be this one: think how could the orchestra of today look like? The symphonic orchestra was invented in Germany around 1750 and it is mostly the same since that period, bigger, but with the same internal organization. Could we imagine new forms for the orchestra today? Certainly yes, and I know that the people who run the Takemitsu Award are very open to this kind of propositions.

Now I will make some brief comments on each piece.

The first piece of the concert, Resonanz vom Horizont from Shiqi Geng, is very sophisticated in the manner how the composer interlaced the different timbres of the ensemble in order to create some sonic illusions. The mixtures of the timbres are extremely well organized and I have no doubt that this young composer has a very precise ear and knows exactly what he wants. He should now think more on the research of his own style, but he is so musically educated that I have no doubt on the fact he will succeed to find his own way.

The second piece, At The End Of Snow Line by Zhuosheng Jin, has many qualities. One of them is made by the will of the composer to integrate some non-conventional techniques in the orchestra. We worked on this subject and I indicated him some problems concerning this experimental attitude. One of the qualities of his preoccupation is to find an original form for the piece. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not. But the fact is this young composer is asking some fundamental questions, which, I am sure, will drive him into a way to find his best solution for the future. The most important thing is to ask the good questions. And it is what he does.

The first piece of the second part, Entelequias by Pablo Rubino Lindner, is fascinating. The musical material is following an extremely slow movement, like a cloud which seems never to move, while the musical textures are creating a sort of organic evolution, which seems endless. This superposition of a very immobile musical material, which is always passing through a succession of filters of colors is extremely well done. One remarkable point is that this young Argentinian composer is also a professional violinist and I was extremely impressed by the way he showed some examples of the sound he wanted in producing them on his instrument. This composer has, by the way, an excellent ear.

Im Bauch des Fisches drei Tage und drei Nächte by Siqi Liu, which closed the concert, is a very dramatic music, full of tensions and progressions. This young Chinese composer is a very open-minded woman, ready to accept to be criticized and to modify her score in a minute. I helped her to lighten her orchestration because she has a bad habit to write some very beautiful musical textures and then, to cover them with too many percussions. I hope she will not blame me for having pushed her to put some lighting on her score. I was astonished by the rapidity how she can rewrite part of her score. She is very gifted.

Now I will announce the prize.

I decided to give the third prize to Zhuosheng Jin: At The End Of Snow Line, the prize of 400,000 yen, for having taking risks in using non-conventional techniques in the use of the instruments.

The second prize of 600,000 yen is awarded to Siqi Liu: Im Bauch des Fisches drei Tage und drei Nächte, for the sound energy and the research of a dramatic tension.

And finally two first prizes. One for Shiqi Geng: Resonanz vom Horizont, prize of 1,000,000 yen, for the great refinement of the sonorities and the seducing fluidity of the musical textures, and joint first prize for Pablo Rubino Lindner: Entelequias, also 1,000,000 yen, for the extraordinary attention to the details in the orchestration, and the sound imagination to renew the timbres and textures in a static musical context.

I would like to finish by thanking the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and the conductor Kanako Abe for their extraordinary work. Thank you very much.

Also to the organization of this competition, which is really something wonderful for the young composers, thank you very much.

[Edited by Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation]


1st Prize
Shiqi Geng (China)
Resonanz vom HorizontFor Orchestra

Born in Baoding City, Hebei Province, China in 1995. He started to play the piano when he was 8 years old, music theory and harmony with 11 years and composition for himself with 12 years. He began to learn composition at the Middle-School attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing in 2010. He holds the Bachelor’s degree Composition from the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz in 2018, where he is currently pursuing master’s degree Composition under Prof. Gerd Kühr and Prof. Beat Furrer. He won some prizes from competitions of composition around the world, and his works are performed in Austria, Italy, France, China and Thailand, as well as with Ensemble offspring (Australia), Bruckner Orchestra Linz (Austria), Schallfeldensemble (Austria) and in Lange Nacht der Bühne in Linz, Forum Alpbach (Tirol). He received also a commission from the Musikverein Graz for a Konzert für Menschenrechte (concert for the human rights) in 2017. He receives a special scholarship from the City of Graz in 2018.

Good evening everyone. I’m truly honoured to receive the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award. Listening to such a great performance by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Ms Kanako Abe was an invaluable life experience for me as a composer. I’m grateful to the judge Mr Manoury for the comments on my piece and I hope to reflect them on my future creation.
Toru Takemitsu was actually one of the most influential composers for me when I started to study contemporary music. Before moving to Europe, I almost had no knowledge about contemporary music. Right after I had arrived in Graz, I was still under the influence of French impressionistic music, and some works of Toru Takemitsu also felt rather impressionistic, so I felt close to him. Studying his music was my first step in writing contemporary music. Not only that, but also Takemitsu’s style and aesthetics had a large impact on me. It is because of Takemitsu that I became very much interested in Japanese culture and to this day I continue to study Japanese. Of course, I’m always in search of my own musical language as well.
For me, participating in this concert and meeting the composers of my age from China were also very important and precious. It is rather rare to know about Chinese composers of my generation while studying in Graz. This concert was a great opportunity for me to learn about their ways of thinking and styles.
Above all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone involved in this concert: the judge Mr Philippe Manoury, all the performers of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Ms Kanako Abe, and the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation. I would also like to thank all the people who have supported me, especially my parents and also my professors at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Professor Gerd Kühr and Professor Beat Furrer. Thank you very much.

1st Prize
Pablo Rubino Lindner (Argentina)
Entelequiasfor orchestra

Born in 1986, in Quilmes, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is a professional violinist, currently Chief of Second Violins in the Teatro Argentino Permanent Orchestra. He studied composition at the La Plata National University. In recent years he developed an international career as a composer. He participated in many festivals and received some prizes, among others: Nordic Saxophone Festival (Aarhus, Denmark) in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Maurice Ravel Contest (Italy), Musique sans frontiers organized by The Alvarez Chamber Orchestra (London); Premio Juan Carlos Paz (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Maderna Composers Competition (Lviv, Ukraine), highSCORE Festival (Pavia, Italy, 2018) and TACEC Generation Festival (La Plata, Argentina).

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Regardless of how important it is for me to be here today, I would like to focus this brief speech on highlighting the importance of having a contest of this magnitude in the world of composition and art in general.
In an increasingly commercialized world, in which practically everything has become merchandise, submitted as such to the laws of market; to finance an event like this, which is not conceived to generate any income or economic return but rather focuses on art itself, on generating the conditions of production for the emergence of new works, constitutes an extremely laudable act. And when it is also considered that the works are judged anonymously, that the level of the juries is legendary, that the conductor is excellent, that the organization is, without exaggeration, perfect, amongst so many other good qualities that this contest exhibits; one can take dimension of how significant this competition is, also because it gives equal opportunities to people regardless of nationality, religion, gender etc.
How much happier composers would be if there were more institutions, people, governments that understood the need to promote this kind of event. Maybe the fact of coming from a country in which the economic and infrastructure problems are the order of the day, compels me to look at it from this perspective, considering it as an important equalizer of opportunities.
For many more editions of Takemitsu and for many more events like this in the world. Thank you.

2nd Prize
Siqi Liu (China)
Im Bauch des Fisches drei Tage und drei Nächtefür Orchester

Born in 1991, in Lengshuijiang City, Hunan Province, China. She studied composition under Wenchen Qin and received Bachelor’s Degree and Art Master Degree at the Central Conservatory of Music from 2010 to 2018. In 2017, as an exchange student, She studied Composition under Elmar Lampson at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. Her works reflect her Christian faith and the spiritual pursuit of beauty.

I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the honour of being selected to be one of the finalists of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award.
Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation, thank you for your support for younger composers.
Composer Mr Philippe Manoury, thank you for your selection and I appreciate very much that you gave me helpful suggestions that made the piece become better and better.
Conductor Ms Kanako Abe, thank you for your great conducting.
Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, thank you for your perfect performance.
Producer Mr Jun Sawahashi and every one I haven’t mentioned, thank you for your hard work for the competition.
And I would like to thank my school, China Central Conservatory of Music, and my tutor, composer Professor Wenchen Qin. Thanks for them to give me about eight years of education.

As we all know, it is easy to feel happy when you are lucky, it is easy to praise God when you receive the things you want. It is very hard in darkness to wait for the light to show up. It is very difficult to praise God, to give thanks to the people around you when you are in the lowest moment of your life.
The piece Im Bauch des Fisches drei Tage und drei Nächte is telling a story about a kind of beauty. The beauty I’ve found in the Bible. That is a story about Jonah. When he was in the darkness of the belly of the fish, he is still waiting for the light. When he was in the deep sea, he still praises and gives thanks to God.
For me, happiness or beauty is not the ending, happiness or beauty is the process. In the process we can cherish every moment. Like the piece described, from heavy to relax, from darkness to light, from the belly of the fish to out of the fish and then see the sunrise.
In the end, I would to say to God, O Holy God, thank you for everything. Thank you for bringing me to Tokyo, to stand on the glory stage. I very much appreciate it. The glory is yours. This is the song I wrote for you. This is the process I’ve experienced. I wish you like it. I love you. I trust you, and thank you.

3rd Prize
Zhuosheng Jin (China)
At The End Of Snow LineFor full orchestra

Born in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, China in 1991. He is composer, pianist, and poet currently based in Montreal, Canada. Throughout his music, he has been interested in relationships between musical gestures and sound. His recent collaborations include Klangforum Wien, Meita Ensemble, Quatuor Béla, Ensemble Mdi, JACK Quartet, and Mivos Quartet, etc. His music has been played in Asia, Europe, North and South America in Festival Archipel (Switzerland), June in Buffalo New Music Festival (US), OutHear New Music Week (Greece), Composit New Music Festival (Italy), and Beijing Modern Music Festival (China), among others. He studies composition with Philippe Leroux at McGill University and holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BA ’15), Boston University (MM ’17), after the Middle-School Attached to the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. His former composition teachers include Josh Levine, Alex Mincek, Joshua Fineberg, and Xiaogang Ye.

I would like to thank the Tokyo Opera City Cultural Foundation, the President, the judge Mr Philippe Manoury, the conductor Ms Kanako Abe, the producer Mr Jun Sawahashi, and all the performers and people who were involved in this project. It is with great honour that I stand on this stage and receive this award. Here I want to express my appreciation to all my composition teachers for their tremendous patience and invaluable help. I also want to thank my colleagues whom I met all around the globe, all of whom bring me endless inspiration. It is to teachers and colleagues alike that I owe my upbringing and development throughout my career.
At the End of Snow Line captures a scene where I stand at the end of a snowy street in Montreal in the winter, thinking back to my hometown where I spent my first twelve years of life. It was a small town barely snowing. I can always remember when my feet were on the road. The road was always clean and pristine, like a mirror.
After the factories were built on the seashore and the peaceful protest in 2012 against the unregulated PX chemical project, I started to think about a piece dedicated to my hometown and to its changes. This piece you heard today was that piece.
Throughout my life, there have always been things I cannot express in words, which I can only express in sounds. For me, composition is like a life partner, accompanying me through the dark, and even if we don’t see a light at the end, we, at least, encounter feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and tolerance along the way. Through composition, I regain a love to the world. At every helpless moment, I know that there is at least something I can create, something good I can share with you. And maybe through this sharing, one day our world, our country, will become better.
Thank you. Xièxie.

4 Finalists selected for Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2019 [Judge: Philippe Manoury] (6/Dec/2018)
information about TORU TAKEMITSU Composition Award Next: TORU TAKEMITSU Composition Award 2020 (Judge: Thomas Adès)

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